MSANG Promotes Evans to Brigadier General

  • Published
  • By 1st LT. Kiara Spann
  • 172nd Airlift Wing

On the heels of Black History Month, Col. Edward H. Evans, the Mississippi Air National Guard chief of staff, has made history in the Mississippi Air National Guard.

Evans, the grandson of an original Tuskegee Airman, retired Master Sgt. Sidney L. Evans, Sr., became the first African American to be promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the Mississippi Air National Guard.

“I’m truly honored; I’m humbled and extremely overwhelmed at the honor of this position, and especially grateful for my promotion to brigadier general,” said Evans. “For the past several months, I’ve been overflowing with gratitude and thanks to all who made today possible. I look forward to serving my new commander and supporting his priorities as he leads the Mississippi Air National Guard.”

The Gulfport native received his commission in 1992 as a Graduate of the Reserve Officers Training Corps program at Mississippi State University. He entered the Air Force in 1993 as a Civil Engineer in the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron located at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. In 1997, Evans returned to Mississippi as a pilot candidate at the 172nd Airlift Wing, Jackson, Mississippi.

“He is a great leader, and we’re looking forward to challenging him further to not only advance his career but to improve on what we have already accomplished in the Mississippi Air National Guard and the Mississippi National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, the adjutant general of Mississippi.

Evans has been a trailblazer his entire career. While at MSU, he was selected as the outstanding cadet in his ROTC summer camp. In his first three years of service at Barksdale AFB, he went on to be chosen as the mission support group commander’s company grade officer of the quarter five times out of 12 quarters. He left that base as a Lance P. Sijan Leadership Award nominee. In 2005, he commanded the last flight out of Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany.

Evans has had the unique opportunity to serve in both of the state’s Air National Guard Units: the 172nd Airlift Wing and the 186th Air Refueling Wing, Meridian, Mississippi.

“As all good leaders know, sometimes you lead where you expect to lead, and sometimes, you’re chosen to lead somewhere else; great leaders always answer the call wherever they’re needed,” said Maj. Gen. Barry A. Blanchard, assistant adjutant general-Air, Mississippi National Guard. “As standard with Ed, everywhere he goes, he leaves the organization in better shape than what he found it. He leaves it ready and poised for continued success.”

Along with his many accomplishments throughout his career, Evans holds many awards and decorations, including the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Aerial Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster and the Air Force Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

“As I embark on this new position, I look forward to working with the staff and supporting Maj. Gen. Blanchard,” said Evans. “Our mission is to fly, fight and win. Anytime, anywhere, so let’s get to work, let’s get back to readiness, developing our people and protecting our assets.”